Ipswich Town fan RUSSELL CLAYDON says the club needs to realise its fans are its most important assets

Share this article

IT IS fans’ day at the Peterborough game on Saturday but the club’s relationship with its supporters is something I believe needs addressing.

We have a proud history as a family club but right now most the fans I speak to feel disenchanted.

Season ticket prices have not gone up, but we are still one of the most expensive in the league and are about to bring out two kits a season instead of rotating home and away – a £45 stealth tax?

As a youngster I used to look forward to voting for my favourite kit design (done with fans’ advice). Nowadays, under Mitre, I can’t remember the last time this happened, though I’m told by the club’s new retail manager they are considering it going forward.

The fabric of the current home shirt has been so poor a source has told me a significant number have had to be taken back.

But the Middlesbrough ticket fiasco demonstrated to me how out of touch the club is in dealing with their paying customers - it could and should have been handled so much better.

After telling you about my friends Rachael and Darren, who have now had a letter back from the club that does not even address their issue they can’t make the discounted re-arranged fixture, I have received a similar story. Andy Smith paid £76.50 for his family when back from serving in Afghanistan and accepts the postponement policy but after writing to the club explaining he is returning to Afghanistan and politely asking to transfer the discount to his next available game he is still, to the best of my knowledge, waiting for a reply more than two weeks after.

I’ve also been told of a child writing to the manager who has never heard back. These things are damaging the relations with long-standing fans and bridges that are burnt aren’t easily repaired.

On the pitch there is definitely an end-of-season feel with anything but mid-table unlikely. With this the case, I can’t understand why Grant Leadbitter is being given a shop window to orchestrate a lucrative free move elsewhere when we could be giving the likes of Luke Hyam and Josh Carson a continued run or bed in new signing Ryan Stevenson.

Coming back to draw at Hull City 2-2 on Saturday showed plenty of promise for next season and there is a belief things are coming together. The last time we played East Anglian neighbours Peterborough we were a long way off (to say the least!), so Saturday will be an interesting gauge.

l I SHALL be using ‘my face for radio’ on Saturday when I will be on BBC Radio Suffolk’s Life’s A Pitch programme from 12pm, talking to Mark Murphy about my Sport Relief challenge to run round Portman Road in a Norwich City strip next Wednesday night (Burnley). If you haven’t already, please help me reach my £500 fund-raising target with a donation by copy and pasting the web address below into your browser: